There is a story of an older gentleman, a carpenter and builder, who had a reputation for being a craftsman. Honest. Sincere. Never cut corners.
He announced his retirement and the company owner persuaded him to build one more house, instructing him to do his very best work, to not cut corners, to make it his best house yet.
As the older gentleman planned and mapped the construction, it occurred to him that while many of the younger carpenters and builders padded expense accounts, used cheaper wood and brick, electrical and plumbing even though they charged for the more expensive types, he had never done so. He had never done that. The older gentleman decided that he, just this once, could do this too. Pocket some extra money. No one would know. No one would suspect.
So he did.
Cheaper wood. Less expensive brick. Electrical and plumbing to code, but not even close to his standards. The house, while it looked nice, was, well, cheap.
At the finish, the owner and several of the management met the older gentleman at the house for the final inspection. Before they entered, the owner handed him the keys and said, “We appreciate all you’ve done. You’ve helped built this company to where it is today, just because of your honesty, your integrity, and your craftsmanship and reputation. So it is with honor, that I present you with this house as a thank you from us to you. You deserve it.” And they applauded. A Final Applause.
Hmmm . . .
Not sure what the older gentleman did. Not sure how he felt. Honesty. Integrity. Craftsmanship. Reputation.
Several thoughts come to mind . . .
He cheated himself and no one else. He had built himself, created for himself, a reputation built on honesty, integrity, and craftsmanship. You could say that now, he had built his house and now he will live in it.
I attended the service for my deceased nephew, Jared. It was a beautiful, meaningful, service. A tribute to a life well-lived, even though he had barely twenty-one years on this earth, in the lives of those whom he loved and those who loved him.
Several spoke about his honesty, his integrity. They mentioned that if any of those whom he considered friends picked on or was critical of or was ‘lording it over’ any others, those friends simply weren’t his friends any longer. He was unpretentious. Easygoing. Positive, looking for the good in everyone and, expecting good to be shown and extended to others.
He began each day, every day in the same way: playing “Play That Funky Music White Boy” because as he reasoned, “You can’t start the day with that song and have a bad day!” Not a bad way to begin a day, any day, every day.
The pastor likened Jared’s life to a symphony, a concert, or a movie. At the end of a symphony, a concert, or a well-done movie, people applaud. They might stand up in an ovation. That’s how Jared’s service ended: with an ovation and applause for a life well-lived.
A Final Applause.
The older gentleman who had lived his life and who had built his reputation with honesty, integrity, and craftsmanship, faltered at the end, living in the house he had built. Jared lived his life with passion and kindness, with honesty and integrity. For one, a house that was shabbily built. Built not up to his standards. Corners cut. Cheaply made. Jared, he built his house, his life, with honesty and integrity, with passion and concern for others. He lived his life to the full. For himself, for others. A choice, I guess. For each of us. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!